Mining - Hydrometallurgy

Lewatit® ion exchange resins and Lewabrane® membranes for mining and hydrometallurgy industry


In processing ores, large volumes of water are used for everything from cleaning the crude ores to obtaining the pure metals. Recovering and separating the metal ions from this water is a necessary step both economically and ecologically.

Lewatit® brand ion exchange resins offer the fascinating possibility of selectively binding specific metal ions, e.g. precious, platinum and rare earth metals. Secondary constituents can also be separated such as zinc from copper electrolytes or cobalt from nickel or copper salt solutions. The metal ions are removed from the aqueous solution and accumulated on the ion exchange resin, which considerably facilitates their further processing or disposal in the case of wastewater streams.

With the help of special ion exchange resins, metals can be removed from ore outcrops by means of direct extraction. The Lewatit® grades specially adapted for applications in hydrometallurgy possess chelating functional groups that very efficiently and highly selectively bind specific metal ions. Using resin-in-pulp (RIP) technology, metals like copper and nickel, and also uranium can be extracted more efficiently and ecologically than with conventional methods. Similarly, ion exchange resins can be used to extract metal in the case of in-situ leaching (ISL) in porous rock, a method for exploiting ore deposits without using conventional mining techniques. Uranium and copper, for example, are mined by this method.

In addition, membrane methods can be used to treat raw and wastewater from hydrometallurgy using ultrafiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis. LANXESS supplies membrane elements from its Lewabrane® line for these applications.